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Worship. More.

“Take Me Back to Eden” is the best album I’ve ever heard. That’s a very direct way to start this, so let me elaborate. Eden, for short, is the third album in a trilogy by Sleep Token. It began with “Sundowning” (2019), followed by “This Place Will Become Your Tomb” (2021). Eden released just over 2 weeks ago on May 19, and since then they’ve placed 3rd on the Official UK Album Charts, hit #16 on US Billboard Charts, have over 2.5 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and won Best U.K. Artist at the 2023 Heavy Music Awards. I first wrote about Sleep Token for The Offbeat Times back in January. As a huge fan of theirs for years at that point, it’s comical to look back at that post and see myself trying to garner attention for them. I vividly remember mentioning that they were dropping singles on a nearly weekly basis and getting tons of attention for it, hitting 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify (up from roughly 200k that same month), and going viral on TikTok for some of their artistic choices in “The Summoning.” The Sleep Token hype continued to snowball from that point on, and just this week sold out one of the UK’s largest arenas in under 10 minutes, as well as every single show in the upcoming US tour. It’s surreal to see my favorite underground band turn into metal’s most talked about band, and I’m so happy they’re finally getting the recognition they deserve. But surprisingly, I’m not here to discuss statistics, although I’m clearly a sucker for it. From a musical, lyrical, and thematic standpoint, Eden surpassed every expectation I had. I should have known by now that it was futile to have expectations with this band, but here we are. It’s almost hard to know where to start seeing how they released half of the album as singles. I’m going to try my best to avoid doing in depth breakdowns song by song even though I definitely could. Realistically, it deserves that and so much more. The lore, lyrical callbacks, and even the instrumentation in Eden display some of the most intentional songwriting I’ve ever heard in my life. For myself and many other long time Sleep Token fans, this album feels crafted for us specifically, so the fact that it has the metal world exploding only goes to show how exceptional they are as songwriters and artists.


It’s hard not to laugh, but Wikipedia lists Eden’s genre as funk, black metal, electronic, pop, R&B, progressive metal, djent, metalcore, and blues. That barely covers the bases, but they flawlessly incorporate all of these sounds. I especially applaud Vessel’s rapping in “Ascensionism” and the track “Take Me Back to Eden.” Probably the most surprising sound to be found on Eden is “Are You Really Okay?” which sounds like a late 80s rock ballad. You’d never catch me listening to most of these genres by themselves, but the way they craft each one to their own style is absolutely mesmerizing. Also, a fact that is rarely discussed is that Vessel, the vocalist and lyricist, also writes and records every single instrument on the album, except for drums. Goes without saying he also assists with production as well. You can't deny that this person, or Vessel I should say, is a musical genius. Music has always struck a nerve with me, but Eden provides so much catharsis. Half of the songs on the album have quite literally brought tears to my eyes, whether it be from a chill-inducing, frantic sounding metal breakdown at the end of “Take Me Back to Eden,” the extreme levels of empathy I feel from Vessel’s vocals in “Vore” when he repeatedly screams “Are you in pain like I am,” and probably the most surprising element, the storytelling. As I mentioned before, there’s lyrical callbacks incorporated into almost every song. For example in “Aqua Regia,” the lyrics “When I'm done dancing to alarm bells" references the 2019 song “Dark Signs” when he mentions the "Alarm Bells in your eyes.” The references on Eden are infinitely diverse, but include works of Shakespeare, chemistry, and they also simultaneously reference other songs on the album too. Personally, my favorite line is when he wrote “But I'll take a pound of your flesh before you take a piece of my paystub.” At first glance with it being during a rap section, you’d assume he’s just spitting bars about watching out for his cash, but actually it’s a double entendre referencing the Shakespearian story “The Merchant of Venice” in which Antonio takes a loan from a loan shark in order to pursue courting a woman he fell in love with. The contract stated that if Antonio failed to pay him back, the loan shark’s payment would be a pound of flesh closest to Antonio’s heart. It’s incredibly easy to overlook how absurdly deep the songwriting is because of how outstanding the music can be, but there’s no end to the quality found on this album.


Sleep Token’s trilogy is a long, painful journey expressing how torturous a toxic relationship with a loved one and yourself can be. The last song on Eden, “Euclid” surprisingly concludes the journey with the most beautiful song writing I’ve ever seen. “Euclid” brings everything full circle to their first album. I’ll refrain from writing the lyrics for reasons all Sleep Token fans understand regarding Vessel’s identity, but he even directly gives a nod to us keen eyed worshippers who actually know who he is by smoothly incorporating his previous band's name into the song. Like I said earlier, Vessel wrote this for us. The first album, “Sundowning” begins with the song “The Night Does Not Belong To God.” In “Euclid” you can almost sense the exhaustion when he sings “No, by now, The Night Belongs To You.” The album “Take Me Back to Eden” emotionally concludes with the actual chorus from said song. I also can’t fail to mention that the very next line after the night belongs to you is “this bough has broken through” which is a reference to the last song on their first EP from 2016, “When the Bough Breaks.”


The story is masterfully wrapped up with Vessel coming to an understanding that he has to walk away. I have so much to say about nearly every track on this album, I couldn’t possibly condense it into one short form article. I've noticed some people not having much appreciation for it on first listen, but there’s so many layers to this band, one listen is simply not enough. But music is subjective, and that's okay. I can say for a fact though, that if you’re a fan of music, from any generation, there is without a doubt something here for you.


Worship.



Stephen Patrick Morrison is a resident of Russellville, an avid gamer, competitive Pokémon player, and purveyor of all things heavy.


Reach out on Facebook or Instagram. Facebook.com/SEPM91 @RattyBlueWIZARD

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